Why Does Most Anime and Manga Are School Themed? – Japanese’s Response

“Lot of Japan’s Anime or Manga takes place in school right?” “Do they have to have school even in the fantasy world?” Some related news from a Chinese otaku web forum were noticed by the Japanese.

This is a topic discussed by oversea otaku was made possible with the help of online news and various “translator” blog, and this time I want to introduce the topic which seems to have the most popularity.

First, let’s see some comment and reply by the Chinese otaku.

“Why Does Most Anime and Manga Are School Themed?”(from searchina)
  • How do you put it…it’s just how it is, you don’t even question it, but why do they put the setting in school even in fantasy world!? From anime to manga, game to light novel, even if the story is another world or even military stuff it’s all in school. Why is it like this?
  • True, before you notice even a school-like organization is with a lot of uniform involve. It’s a very unique setting…but it became a norm because of the commonalty of it in recent works.
  • Maybe because the Japanese adult have no time so they want to take a break through reminiscent the past?
  • Why is it that with our online novel it’s always going toward online games? I think it’s something close to that right? It’s a easy to use setting for Japanese work.

Original page here

It is true that regardless of the settings the recent anime/manga that takes place in school receive more attention. While this had been employ since the older works, the school theme became main stream before we know it. While some story’s setting doesn’t really happen in a school, some still contain some element from school. And if you add them all up I think it would be a majority of anime/manga theme.

Why did the school themed setting became such a huge part of the anime/manga world?

Next I would like to share some of the twitter in response to this news.

“Why Does Most Anime and Manga Are School Themed?”(from 2 channel)
  • Come to think of it there are a lot school stuff huh @no3ypr248
  • It’s an interesting view, so I guess it is rare huh? @184RA
  • There’s someone who think like this in any country it seems @Grey_81
  • That’s a good catch, but I think it’s only because it’s easy to write and easy to gain popularity with school setting @karasu_ku47
  • It’s the easiest for reader to understand without putting work into background or setting of the place @ryou0829ma
  • I heard that it’s because it’s easier to spread with setting in middle school or high school
    High school is easy to imagine for anyone @plum0407
  • Almost everyone had experience school life so it’s easier for them to relate to. If everything is original in a story it’ll be hard to understand since there’s nothing to relate to. @HiyakaRei
  • Because it’s easier to find member, there are many preset event already, so it’s easy story writing @mark_sr500
  • You can’t see uniform if it’s not school themed, and I think for the makers it’s extra work for individual casual clothes’ design @Hobee773
  • Maybe it’s because during school is where most emotion starting to develop  so if the setting is in school it’s more easy to be influence by it @_3279517627171
  • Frankly saying, if you take the popularity of the heroines of the teenager, the main character bring a student is unavoidable.  @yaoyao3
  • Isn’t it because student has more free time so it allow them to have more activity?
    If a salary man  ignore work and go on fighting…it’s just not realistic  @sano00hiroyuki
  • Maybe it’s easier to put the character in place around the same age group…?
    Also a closed environment can be created more easily  @marurso07
  • School is like a down-sized society, also a place that is cut off from the outside world @amiami512
  • School itself is a kind of fantasy @tsuru14
  • When you start working you notice how school’s enviroment is somwhat fantasy like lol @TEA_KOU
  • For a pure fantasy, you need information. And what place to teach them other than school? Also it’s easy for normal and abnormal events. @cellbiol
  • Normal? Isn’t the abnormality the while point? In some way it’s easier to imagine than pure fantasy.  @bel_tt
  • “The Japanese Otaku had it tough in school so they fantasize about it!”
     d≡(`;ω;´)≡b @kurimatasumi

Original page here

Each of them had some legit reason in them. Easier for the makers, and also a relaxing setting for the customer may be the reason why school themed is becoming more and more abundant.

However even understanding the effectiveness of school themes, how it got around at the beginning is still a mystery. I think it’s not because of the success of the business side but of the mental refreshing effect for the later makers.

The school themed game that got my attention was the game 「Revelations: Persona」(1996) on the PlayStation, even now the series is a big hit. After that, the first of the series that is school themed, and one of the greatest hit on PlayStation 「Final Fantasy 8」(1999), it was around that time when school themed story become more and more.

The article and comment from this blog focus it more on the anime and light novel point of view. I also discover that the anime 「Boogiepop Phantom」(1998) and the Boogiepop series have some influence the trend as well.

The transaction and the history of the “school theme” may be deeper than we think.

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